Courtright Reservoir Camping Star Parties
(Courtright Reservoir, in the High Sierras)
For those who aren't afraid of roughing it, Courtright Reservoir is a beautiful geologically-rich area in the High Sierras approximately two hours from Fresno. During the day, the skyline is filled with granite, offering ample opportunities for hiking and exploration. During the night, the high elevation and distance from cities offer up some of the most pristine skies available to this area.
Our campsite is on the East side of the lake, past the dam, on the right hand side before the large trailhead parking lot. While this location offers amazing skies, there are definitely a few things to take into consideration:
  • No Running Water - make sure you bring plenty with you as the altitude and dry air can easily cause dehydration.
  • Cold Weather - our site is at 8,200 feet. Even on a hot day in July or August, the temperature can easily dip into the 40's or lower.
  • No Services - pit toilets are a 250-yard walk to the parking lot, the closest store (at Wishon Village) is a 20-minute drive, and cellphone service is a minimum hour and 15 minute drive down the hill.
  • Follow The Laws - fires (including barbeques) are commonly restricted during the summer due to fire danger. Be sure to check with the Forest Service station in Prather so that you know any restrictions that are in effect. We will report those breaking the law.
Depending on how many people are visiting or camping, the observing site may get a bit crowded. Please be patient and courteous to the guests and astronomers around you.
If you have the gear, it's worth the trip!